Local News


Does the giant East Coast blizzard have a name?

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jan 21, 2016

As this weekend’s giant winter storm approaches the Mid-Atlantic, one question that is being asked is, ‘What is this storm named?’

It turns out, despite attempts to formally name winter storms, there is not an official name for the storm that might drop 2 feet of snow in parts of West Virginia and Maryland. The only storms that are formally named are tropical systems.

But you might seem some refer to the giant East Coast storm as “Jonas.” That name originated from the Weather Channel, as the network names winter systems A through Z, just like how the National Hurricane Center names tropical systems. The station’s names are not formally recognized by official weather services, such as the National Weather Service.

When the Weather Channel began the practice in 2012, the National Weather Service asked its local offices to refrain from using such names as part of official forecasts.

But the Weather Channel said that naming winter storms makes it easier for citizens to follow and prepare for storms.

"It's simply easier to communicate about a complex storm if it has a name, which our naming program has demonstrated," said Bryan Norcross, senior hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel and compiler of the list. "Good communications benefits everyone."

Despite the lack of official standing for the “Jonas” name, some officials are still using the (hashtag)Jonas on social media. Among official groups referring to this weekend’s storm as Jonas are the American Red Cross and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals along with a number of politicians and airlines.

No matter what you call this weekend’s storm, it will provide quite a blow from Arkansas through New York.

For updates on the winter storm, be sure to check out our Storm Shield App, available through the Apple iTunes Store.